Lemon Curd Cake: soft layers of fluffy lemon cake with lemon curd filling strike the perfect balance between sweet and refreshing. The meringue-like 7-minute frosting give lemon meringue pie vibes to a delicious cake. If you’re a fan of my Lemon Curd Cookies, Moist Vanilla Cake, Easy Lemon Tart, Portuguese Orange Cake or delicious dark chocolatey Chocolate Orange Cake, you’re going to love this easy, moist layer cake, too.

A scrumptious lemon curd cake has been sliced and plated on a white dish with a fork by side.
  • You’ll adore the light, refreshing lemon flavor in the fluffy cake layers paired with a hint of vanilla. If you’ve ever loved a creamsicle or an orange julius, you know how delicious vanilla and citrus are together and it’s so evident in this soft lemon cake with lemon curd recipe.
  • Special occasion worthy: Perfect for a birthday, baby shower, or dinner party.
  • The combination of 3 fats ensures a super-tender, soft and moist crumb without being too fussy with a traditional cake method.
  • Want a shortcut? Make it with storebought lemon curd. That makes this a super easy lemon curd cake, too, yay!
  • Generous cake: This lemony cake with curd yields 16 small slices or 12 large slices.
Slice of lemon curd cake on white plate with layers of lemon cake, tangy lemon curd filling, and fluffy white frosting. A portion cut with a fork is visible.

Lemon Curd Cake Ingredients

Ingredients for Lemon Curd Cake laid out on a kitchen countertop including all-purpose flour, eggs, cream cheese, lemon, butter, oil, sugar, buttermilk, etc.

For the lemon cake:

  • Salted butter. Ensure your butter has softened before you begin the process so that it can whip up and aerate.
  • Cream cheese. It should be soft and at room temperature to mix well evenly with the butter in the creaming process.
  • Avocado oil or canola oil; any neutral-tasting oil is fine.
  • Lemon zest. Don’t skip this ingredient – it brings so much to the taste of the cake.
  • Granulated sugar. Regular white sugar is perfect in this cake.
  • Eggs. They should be large and at room temperature.
  • Buttermilk. True buttermilk gives so much more than “sour dairy” – it is chock full of phospholipids that make a batter fluffier and give the cake a softer, smoother crumb. However, if it isn’t something you keep on hand, please use the lemon juice swap (outlined in my substitutions for buttermilk article).
  • Vanilla extract. It brings a lovely dessert tone to the cake; I love to use pure vanilla extract.
  • All-purpose flour. Use a fresh pack of regular all-purpose flour.
  • Baking soda and baking powder: the two raising agents in this recipe. Bake sure they are fresh and ready to rise up!
  • Kosher salt. Balances out this rich and bold cake.

For Lemon Curd Cake Filling:

Fresh lemon curd filling in a small cup with a wooden spoon inside
  • Zest of lemon. Give your large lemon a good wash before zesting it.
  • Lemon juice. Likely to be the juice from the lemon you zested. Choose a glossy lemon – I want to keep the brightest, most vibrant lemon flavor for the creamy curd.
  • Sugar. Regular white sure will do.
  • Egg yolks. From large eggs – make sure they are super fresh for your curd. I love that my recipe uses yolks for the lemon curd and whites for the frosting.
  • Butter. It needs to be cut into small pieces that are easy to add. 1 ⅓ cups + 1 tbsp = 22 tbsp butter or  11 oz by weight (weighing it is my recommendation)

For the 7-minute Frosting:

  • Granulated sugar. As per the rest of the cake.
  • Egg whites. Have them at room temperature.
  • Lemon juice. It adds so much goodness to this light frosting.
  • Vanilla extract. Use a pure extract if you can get your hands on some.

Wanna Make The Best Lemon Curd Cake Ever? Here’s What To Do.

Step-by-step instructions for preparing a lemon curd cake, including pre-heating the oven and combining wet ingredients.

For the cake:

  1. First, you’ll need to preheat your oven to 325ºF—grease and flour two 9×2” round cake pans and line them with parchment paper circles.
  2. Add butter, cream cheese, oil, sugar, and lemon zest to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Pause a couple of times to scrape down the mixing bowl.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the buttermilk and beat on low speed to combine.
  5. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. With low mixer speed, beat the flour mixture in half until just combined.
Step-by-step instructions for preparing a lemon curd cake, including whisking dry ingredients and combining them with wet ingredients until fully incorporated.
  1. Add the remaining flour mixture and continue beating on low until flour is incorporated, pausing once to scrape down the mixer bowl and paddle. Watch closely and do not overmix (this keeps the cake soft).
  2. Spoon the cake batter evenly into prepared pans. I find it quickly done with an ice cream scoop. Smooth out the top of the batter and place it in the center of the preheated oven.
  3. Cover cake with foil after 40-50 mins when it darkens and continue baking until it reaches 190ºF, about 60-75 min total.
  4. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges, place a wire rack on top, and use oven mitts to flip the whole thing over. If it doesn’t release easily, place a hot towel on top to steam the bottom out. Let the cake cool completely.
Instructions for adding cake batter into round pans and baking in pre-heated oven.

To make lemon curd filling: 

  1. Bring 1″ of water to a strong simmer in a small saucepan. 
  2. Add sugar, lemon juice, and zest to a heat-safe bowl and place it over a pot of simmering water (or use a double boiler). Whisk in the egg yolks. 
  3. Whisk constantly until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon in a thick layer.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Refrigerate until cool. 
Step-by-step instructions to make lemon curd filling using sugar, lemon juice, zest, egg yolks and butter.

To make the frosting:

  1. Bring 1″ of water to a strong simmer in a small saucepan. Combine sugar, egg whites and lemon juice in a large heat-proof bowl set over the top (or in a double boiler). Make sure your bowl does not touch the water.
  2. With burner heat on low, beat with a hand mixer until glossy, soft-medium peaks form, 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and beat in vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature.
Step-by-step instructions to make a 7-minute whipped frosting for lemon curd cake.

To Fill the Cake with Curd and Assemble: 

  1. Place one cake layer on your serving plate. Pipe or spoon a ring of frosting around the border to make a dam that prevents the filling from spilling out. Spoon the lemon curd into the middle and spread it out. 
  2. Place the second cake layer on top. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. 
Lemon cake is layered with lemon curd filling in the middle and frosting around the border. Finally, the 2-layer cake is fully covered with white frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

Make Ahead Instructions

You can make the lemon curd ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the cake. 

The frosting can also be made a few hours before and left to cool until you’re ready to frost your cake.

The cake layers can be baked a day in advance, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature. For any longer than that, store in the freezer to keep it as fresh as possible. Cakes will stale quicker in the refrigerator than on the counter, so never make ahead and store in the fridge.

Storage

Unless you’re serving your cake within 4 hours of assembling it, store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. Homemade lemon curd needs to be kept refrigerated for food safety.

For best texture, bring the cake back to room temperature by letting it sit out for 30 minute before serving it.

If you have leftover lemon curd, it can be refrigerated for about a week or stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

FAQs

Does lemon curd in a cake need to be refrigerated?

A cake with lemon curd between its layers needs to be refrigerated to prevent bacteria from growing in the perishable ingredients of the lemon curd.

How to know when lemon curd is done?

You’ll know when lemon curd is done when it thickens to the consistency of yogurt.

How to make lemon curd cake filling?

Make lemon curd cake filling by cooking sugar, lemon juice, and zest in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water. Whisk in egg and cook until it thickens up before adding a bit of butter.

Chill the lemon curd cake filling in the fridge until ready to assemble your cake.

How do you know when lemon curd is thick enough?

Lemon curd is thick enough when it will coat the back of a spoon.

What temp does lemon curd thicken?

Lemon curd should reach a minimum temperature of 170ºF, but read above for other ways to know it’s ready.

Pro Tips and Tricks

  • I like to use an ice cream scoop to measure cake batter between pans. I do an equal scoop for one, then the other, and continue until the batter is gone. This ensures the cake layers are equal and will take the same time to bake. 
  • When making the frosting: add the sugar and lemon juice, whisk them, then add the egg whites. If you add the egg whites to the double boiler first, they will likely start cooking (curdling) before adding the other ingredients. Also, make sure no sugar crystals are clinging to the sides of the bowl, as this will make the icing go grainy. If you see undissolved sugar in the bowl after a couple of minutes of beating, wash it down into the icing using a wet pastry brush.

Other Cake Recipes You’ll Love

A slice of lemon curd cake on a plate with a bite taken out.

Lemon Curd Cake

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 12
Dessert
American
Keyword Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd Filling, Lemon Curd Cake

Ingredients
 
 

For Cake:

  • 1 ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup cream cheese softened
  • 4 tbsp oil like avocado or any neutral-tasting vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 ⅛ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt

For Lemon Curd Filling

  • 1 tbsp lemon zest from 1 large lemon
  • ½ cup lemon juice from 3 large lemons
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter cut into small pieces

For 7-minute Frosting:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large egg whites room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions
 

To make cake:

  • Preheat oven to 325ºF. Grease and flour two 9×2” round cake pans and line with parchment circles.
  • Add butter, cream cheese, oil, sugar and lemon zest to bowl of standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Pause a couple of times to scrape down mixing bowl.
  • Beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
  • Add the buttermilk and beat on low speed to just combine.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With mixer speed on low, beat in half the flour mixture until just combined.
  • Add remaining flour mixture and continue beating on low only until flour is incorporated, pausing once to scrape down mixer bowl and paddle. Watch closely and do not overmix (this keeps the cake soft).
  • Spoon the cake batter evenly into prepared pans. I find it easily done with an ice cream scoop. Smooth out the top of the batter and place in the centre of preheated oven.
  • Cover cake with foil after 40-50 mins when it starts to darken and continue baking until it reaches 190ºF, about 60-75 min total.
  • Let the cake cool in pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges, place a wire rack on top, and use oven mitts to flip the whole thing over. If it doesn’t release easily, place a hot towel on top to steam the bottom out. Let cake cool completely.

To make lemon curd filling:

  • Bring 1″ of water to a strong simmer in a small saucepan.
  • Whisk together sugar, lemon juice and zest to a heat-safe bowl and place it over a pot of simmering water (or use a double boiler). Whisk in the egg yolks.
  • Whisk constantly until it thickens to the consistency of yogurt. It'll take 6-10 minute.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve if there are any lumps. Refrigerate until cool.

To make frosting:

  • Bring 1″ of water to a strong simmer in a small saucepan. Combine sugar, egg whites and lemon juice in a large heat-proof bowl set over top (or in a double boiler). Make sure your bowl does not touch the water.
  • With burner heat on low, beat with hand mixer until glossy, soft-medium peaks form, 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and beat in vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature.

To assemble:

  • Place one cake layer on your serving plate. Pipe or spoon a ring of frosting around the border to make a dam that prevents the filling from spilling out. Spoon the lemon curd to the middle and spread it out.
  • Place the second cake layer on top. Spread remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

Video

Notes

7-minute Frosting:

  • You may substitute 3/4 tsp cream of tartar for the lemon juice.
  • This soft, meringue-like frosting is so fluffy and white. I’ve been testing this recipe for years to make it foolproof for you. It won’t go hard if you don’t over-beat it.
  • Beat for 7 minutes on high speed of a handheld mixer. You’ll have soft-medium peaks at this point. 
  • Don’t try to push it further to stiff peaks. You’ll dry out the meringue as steam escapes and the frosting will form a crust as it dries. It also produces less frosting as you whip the moisture out. 
  • You can toast the frosting using a handheld kitchen torch for a lemon meringue pie look.
  • This yields about 5 1/2 cups of frosting, enough frosting to frost and fill a 2-layer 9” cake. 
  • It stays soft and fluffy for a couple of days at room temperature, but I recommend this one for enjoying on the day you make it.

Lemon Curd:

  • YIELDS 1 ½ cups lemon curd.
  • Use a non-reactive metal bowl (not copper). Do not use glass, as the glass may shatter.
  • Use a microplane to grate the lemon zest. This ensures that the zest is fine enough to disappear into the curd without needing to strain it out later.
  • Whisk constantly while cooking to avoid curdling the eggs. The water should only be maintained at a simmer, not a boil, and the water should never touch the bottom of the bowl.
  • The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it chills and sets.
  • Add the sugar, lemon juice, and zest first, whisk it, then add the egg yolks. If you add the yolks to the double boiler first, they will likely start cooking (curdling) before adding the other ingredients.

Nutrition

Calories: 810kcalCarbohydrates: 107gProtein: 9gFat: 40gSaturated Fat: 21gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 192mgSodium: 637mgPotassium: 149mgFiber: 1gSugar: 83gVitamin A: 1189IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 86mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd Filling, Lemon Curd Cake

Last Updated on April 25, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

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Bernice
Bernice
10 months ago

5 stars
You reminded me that it had been forever since I’ve made lemon curd!! This cake was absolutely irresistible and the whole family loved it at Sunday dinner.

Gloria
Gloria
11 months ago

5 stars
I love lemon curd. This cake is perfect for Easter.

Charla
11 months ago

5 stars
I always thought lemon curd cake was so difficult to make but after reading through the instructions I feel confident to do it.

Dannii
Dannii
11 months ago

5 stars
I love any kind of lemon cake and this was incredible. A really nice intense lemon flavour.

Kate
11 months ago

5 stars
I love the contrast of the sweet and zingy lemon curd with the tender sweet cake! Sooo good.

Amanda Wren-Grimwood
11 months ago

5 stars
What a beautiful cake. Perfect for Easter entertaining and I love that frosting too.

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